Thursday, October 9, 2014

How Can I Get More Steps in to Meet My Fitbit Goals?

If you use a Fitbit or other fitness tracker to monitor your daily activity, you know how hard it can be some days to meet your daily or weekly step goals, especially if your job requires you to sit at a desk for extended periods.  With a little creativity, however, you can not only achieve your daily goals, but surpass them.  Below are some tips to increase your daily steps without taking a lot of extra time out of your day.

Stairway to heaven
It's a no-brainer that taking the stairs rather than an elevator or escalator is better for you, but don't just take the stairs when they're right in front of you - go look for them.

If you work in a multi-story building and there are facilities on more than one floor, go out of your way to go to the restroom on your break.  Instead of taking the easy route and going to the bathroom down the hall, take it a step (well, a few steps) further and walk up a floor or two instead.  The extra minute or so won't be missed, but the extra steps will be a bonus towards meeting your Fitbit goals.

Shop 'til you drop
When grocery shopping, go up and down every aisle, whether you need to buy something in that aisle or not.  It's a good idea to shop with a list in hand so that you're not tempted to buy things that aren't on your eating plan, so browse the aisles looking for the items that you need, and when you hit an aisle that you don't need anything from, scoot along smartly without stopping to look at the items on the shelves.  Score bonus points for going up and down every aisle at a decent pace when you've completed your shopping.

It's more difficult to do this when the stores are crowded, so pick days and times of day when you're less likely to be tripping over other shoppers' carts.  Also, if you wear your fitness tracking device on your wrist, you'll need to push your cart with only one hand in order for the steps to register.

Step up during play time
If you have young children, set aside a little time to actively play with them for at least a few minutes every day.  Put some music on and get everyone up and dancing, lifting your legs up high and swinging or pumping your arms.  You'd be surprised at how much fun you can have while getting your steps in.

No kids?  No excuse!  Crank it up and get moving to your favorite music video.  You don't need to tune in to an actual exercise program in order to groove to the tube - pick some lively music to jive to and just get up and do it!

Photo by Arizona Foothills Magazine

Stay tuned 
While watching TV, get up and move during the commercials.   When you get up to go to the bathroom or get a drink, take a couple of extra trips down the hall and around the living room before sitting back down.  If you don't need to get up for any other reason, get up anyway.  Step in place or around the room for the duration of the advertisements, then plop down and get comfy again when your favorite show comes back on.

I use that trick often but do it in the reverse when watching "Dancing With the Stars" - I'll get up and move while the performers are dancing. I find it motivating to see some of the older people out there dancing and figure if they can do that, I can at least march in place.

Mail call
Don't check the mail from your car when you come home, but park your car, then walk to the mailbox.  If you're home when the mail comes, walk down to get it, then make an extra trip or two up and down the driveway or walk to the end of the block and back.

Something for everyone
While cooking, walk back and forth the length of the kitchen while waiting for the water to boil or until time to stir something.  Talking on the phone?  Keep your feet moving as much as your mouth is.  I get LOTS of steps while talking on the phone.  I'm up and moving the whole time.  Waiting for a file to download?  Get up and step in place in front of your computer. You'll meet your Fitbit goals in no time.

When all else fails
If the day is almost done and you've fallen short on your goal, don't give up.  Walk up and down the hall and around the inside perimeter of your house if you have to.  You might think it's silly (and I know my dogs are convinced that I'm nuts as I do this almost every evening), but is it silly to try to reach your goals while getting fit?  I've been known to crochet while walking in place, so I'm sure you can't look any sillier than that.  I'll set the piece I'm working on on the back of the recliner and step and stitch at the same time.

Since I've started doing these and other things every day, I've had no trouble at all making my 10,000 daily steps goal on Fitbit, and usually can get to 13-14,000 steps with a little effort.

You don't need to carve out large chunks of time to fit exercise into your day.  Think outside the box and see how easy it can be to add extra steps to the activities that you're already doing every day.

~ Marie Anne

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